Pubdate: Tue, 19 Dec 2006
Source: Craig Daily Press, The (CO)
Copyright: 2006 The Craig Daily Press
Author: Joshua Roberts, Daily Press writer


Garrett Wiggins to Succeed Dusty Schulze

Officers from the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotic  Enforcement Team 
agree -- fighting the area's  methamphetamine problem can be a thankless job.

With four officers on staff and new drug dealers  popping up to 
replace arrested ones throughout the  Yampa Valley, the task is 
daunting, the hours long and  the recognition limited.

That hasn't dissuaded Garrett Wiggins, though.

Wiggins, a law enforcement veteran, has been earmarked  to lead 
GRAMNET, the task force announced Monday. He  replaces current task 
force commander Dusty Schulze,  who has been promoted to sergeant of 
the Craig Police  Department, on Jan. 1.

"We're going to continue to target major crime and  reduction of 
major crime," said Wiggins, an officer  with the Steamboat Springs 
Police Department for five  years and a deputy with the Routt County 
Sheriff's  Office for three. "We're going to take advantage of any 
new technology that becomes available to us, and any  new (funding)."

The GRAMNET board finalized Wiggins' ascension Sunday.

Wiggins, a Republican, lost a contentious race to  Democrat Gary Wall 
in November for Routt County  Sheriff.

GRAMNET, composed of law enforcement officials and  prosecutors from 
Moffat, Routt and Jackson counties, is  pledged with apprehending 
mid- to high-level drug  trafficking operations. Since August 2004, 
Schulze has  been at the forefront of leading the unit.

Schulze was selected to become a sergeant from a field  of four 
candidates, who took the sergeant's exam. He  replaces Sgt. Larry 
Mullen, who retired Sept. 30.  Schulze said GRAMNET has made big 
strides and secured a  near perfect conviction rate of the suspects 
arrested.  Despite the at-times grueling schedule, he said the job 
can "get in your blood," and that he has mixed feelings  about 
handing over the reins.

"I believe in the mission and the work so it's really  hard for me to 
leave," Schulze said. But, he added,  "I'm leaving it in very capable hands."

Wiggins has been a GRAMNET officer for the previous  eight to nine 
months. His resume also includes a stint  working for the police 
department in Quincy, Fla.

He inherits an active task force, one that has made 21  arrests in 
recent months, yet is continually facing  funding shortfalls due to 
grant cutbacks.

Wiggins said an undervalued tool in fighting the area's 
methamphetamine problem is educational efforts. The  task force 
places a premium on delivering seminars to  organizations, businesses 
and residents regarding signs  of meth abuse and production.

The incoming commander said those educational efforts  would 
continue. He extended an open invitation for  anyone in the community 
to contact him if they'd like  to be presented with a seminar.

"We'd like to extend our hand out to all the public,"  he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Elaine